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Beauty and the Sources of Discrimination

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  • Michèle Belot
  • V. Bhaskar
  • Jeroen van de Ven

Abstract

We analyze discrimination against less attractive people on a TV game show with high stakes. The game has a rich structure that allows us to disentangle the relationship between attractiveness and the determinants of a player’s earnings. Unattractive players perform no worse than attractive ones, and are equally cooperative in the prisoner’s dilemma stage of the game. Nevertheless, they are substantially more likely to be eliminated by their peers, even though this is costly. We investigate third party perceptions of discrimination by asking subjects to predict elimination decisions. Subjects implicitly assign a role for attractiveness but underestimate its magnitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Michèle Belot & V. Bhaskar & Jeroen van de Ven, 2012. "Beauty and the Sources of Discrimination," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 47(3), pages 851-872.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:46:y:2012:iii:1:p:851-872
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    10. Belot, Michèle & Bhaskar, V. & van de Ven, Jeroen, 2010. "Promises and cooperation: Evidence from a TV game show," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 396-405, March.
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    4. Arunachalam Raj & Shah Manisha, 2012. "The Prostitute's Allure: The Return to Beauty in Commercial Sex Work," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-27, December.
    5. Tom Lane, 2020. "Along which identity lines does 21st-century Britain divide? Evidence from Big Brother," Rationality and Society, , vol. 32(2), pages 197-222, May.
    6. Parrett, Matt, 2015. "Beauty and the feast: Examining the effect of beauty on earnings using restaurant tipping data," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 34-46.
    7. Daniel Hamermesh, 2012. "Tall or taller, pretty or prettier: is discrimination absolute or relative?," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-17, December.
    8. Kapoor, Sacha & Magesan, Arvind, 2019. "Having it easy: Discrimination and specialization in the workplace," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 153-173.
    9. Deryugina, Tatyana & Shurchkov, Olga, 2015. "Now you see it, now you don’t: The vanishing beauty premium," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 331-345.

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